Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

D.H.S. in Health Science

College/School

College of Health Sciences

First Advisor

Jennifer Fogo, PhD, OTR

Second Advisor

Cheryl Bittel, MSN, APRN-CCNS, NP-C, CCRN

Third Advisor

Lisa Borrero, PhD

Fourth Advisor

Laura Santurri, PhD

Fifth Advisor

Stephanie Kelly, PT, PhD

Abstract

Patients with end-stage heart failure may rely on left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) when heart transplant is delayed or not an option. Growing numbers of patients with LVADs has led to more research being performed to discover what services and support they need. None of this research has examined these patients’ experiences with occupational therapy in the hospital. Using the interpretative phenomenological approach (IPA) of qualitative study, semi-structured interviews of seven questions were conducted to extract the meaning of the occupational therapy services received in acute care for participants. Nine participants were recruited in a convenience sample. They were within six months of LVAD implantation, as bridge to transplant or destination therapy, and ranged from 19-78 years of age. Data analysis established four major themes: lifestyle change, caregiver support, physiological process, and occupational therapy relevance: hospital to home. The participants all viewed occupational therapy services and having an actual shower in the hospital as beneficial to their preparation for returning home. This study demonstrates that patients with LVADs perceive occupational therapy services meaningful, as they provide positive caregiving, beneficial interventions, and education during hospitalization after LVAD implantation, facilitating life change. As the number of individuals with LVADs continues to grow, occupational therapy educators, students, and practitioners need to be aware of the services they can offer patients with LVADs and the meaning these patients ascribe to occupational therapy. Increased awareness and education regarding the LVAD and support occupational therapy services offer to patients with LVADs will improve the quality of care provided.

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